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A lot of people know Reddit through its Ask Me Anything channel; even President Barack Obama has held a chat there.

David Pakman, a venture capitalist at Venrock, says Reddit’s footprint is enormous.

“It’s about a top 33 site on the internet globally. Top 10 in the U.S. It attracts, like, 165 million unique visitors a month,” Packman says. “It is really one of the largest media properties on the planet,” he says.

But it has fewer than 80 employees, with thousands of unpaid volunteers who supervise the site’s content and message boards. That’s creating a challenge for the company.  

Internet entrepreneur Ben Huh says Reddit has been the place where you can find the seedy underbelly of human desire.

“You know you have people who have creepy predilections, or are racist or are sexist, or are just plain old troll-y and rude,” he says.

Last year, Reddit only brought in $8 million of ad revenue. So one of co-founder Steve Huffman’s top goals as the new CEO is to ditch the dirt and court the cash.

The trick, says Huh, is to attract advertisers while preserving Reddit’s brand as a place to have open, authentic conversations.

“When you do decide to change things for a site like this, you have the credibility of authenticity. You are not coming in saying, ‘I’m doing this for my own benefit.’ The users have to believe the greater good has to get done,” he says.

That’s why one of Huffman’s first steps as CEO was to host an Ask Me Anything Thursday with users. During that talk, he proposed new content policies, like banning bullying and illegal activity, and making it harder to find adult-only content on the site.

 

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